21 Nov : In the wake of its successful offensive against pirates off the Somalian coast, India made clear its intentions to expand operations against sea brigands in the Gulf of Aden, saying it is considering a proposal for deploying up to four more warships there.The government said the country can take any recourse to deal with piracy off the Somalian coast, which is notorious for piracy, under two UN resolutions.
Indian Navy already has one warship–INS Tabar– deployed in the area, which has taken on the pirates thrice over the last one week, including one pro-active action on Tuesday night in which a ‘mother ship’ of the pirates was sunk.
"Yes, we are considering a proposal to increase the number of warships in the Gulf of Aden to fight the pirates and to protect merchant ships flying the Indian flag," a top Navy officer said in New Delhi on Thursday.
There is a proposal of deploying up to four more warships in the region to secure the sealanes, he said, adding the Defence Ministry is considering the proposal.
However, there is a view that such a deployment by a single country on a long-term basis would not be feasible in terms of logistics. A final decision is likely to be taken shortly.
India has already sought deployment of warships by various countries, particularly those in the Gulf, jointly under the UN flag in the area to secure the sealanes.
The proposal is being considered by various countries, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs N Ravi told reporters at New Delhi.
India sends a larger warship to Gulf to fight pirates
India on Thursday dispatched a guided-missile destroyer to the Gulf of Aden to join the fight against piracy, even as it explores the possibility of sending up to four warships to strengthen its operations against the menace in that region.
"A Delhi class destroyer has sailed out from Mumbai to replace INS Tabar," Navy sources said in New Delhi on Thursday.
INS Tabar, a stealth guided missile frigate, had won a rare victory in the sea war against the sea brigands, busting three pirate ships within a span of a week and sinking one of them two days ago.
The 6,900-tonne Delhi class destroyers are the largest indigenously built warships till date and pack more fire power in them than frigates.
They carry on board two Sea King helicopters, along with a Cheetah or a Chetak, and stock 16 Uran missiles, 100mm AK 100 Gun, four multi-barrel 30mm AK 630 gun.
With Marine Commandos on Destroyers, it would be a potent force when it patrols the Gulf of Aden to stop the pirates from attacking or hijacking merchant vessels.
The presence of the destroyer in the pirate-infested region of Arabian Sea will strengthen India’s efforts to demonstrate its military power against the sea brigands, sources said.
The helicopters on board the destroyer are generally used for aerial reconnaissance by launching them from the ship’s deck and the armed versions of the Chetak or a Cheetah can be used to scare the pirates away and also attack them when the need arises.
Navy chief calls for UN set-up to weed out sea pirates Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday called for a UN-sponsored arrangement among world navies to carry out anti-piracy operations to safeguard the sea lanes in the Gulf of Aden, even as India considered a proposal to send up to four more warships to the region to fight the menace.
"The government’s stand has been that it would be better if we work under the UN flag," Admiral Mehta said, while talking about the Navy’s efforts to increase the number of warships in the pirate-infested waters in the region.
"We will augment the effort, as required, to make sure that the safety of our ships is ensured," Mehta said.
"We can do this in many ways. We can do this by augmenting our own effort (and) we can do it by collaborating with other navies, who are operating in that region (Gulf of Aden). And that is one part we are looking at," he told the news agency in New Delhi.
Stating that Indian Navy would not be able to intervene if foreign merchant ships were hijacked by pirates, Mehta clarified that it was not possible unless the Navy received a specific request in this regard.
"After a ship has been hijacked…..it is the sole property of the nation to which it belongs. And therefore nobody else can do anything thereafter, unless that particular country asks for your assistance to help in getting rid of the pirates. And you would then be involved or there would be some collateral damage," he said.